Located 400 km off the coast of West Africa, the crater is named Nadir. According to scientists, the study of this crater could change what we know about the period in the history of the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Uisdean Nicholson, associate professor at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, came across the crater by chance – he was reviewing seismic data for another project on the tectonic collapse of South America and Africa, and found signs of a crater less than 400 meters deep. Beach debris.
“While interpreting the data, I came across this unusual crater-shaped object unlike anything I had seen before,” he said.
To be absolutely certain that the crater was caused by an asteroid impact, a scientist would have to drill into the crater and examine the minerals from the bottom of the crater. But the crater has all the features scientists expect: the right width-to-depth ratio, the height of the ridges, the height of the central bulge, and a central mound formed by pressure-pushed rock and sediment. Impact, according to a paper published in Science Advances In the study.
“The discovery of Earth impact craters is always important because they are so rare in the geologic record. There are less than 200 confirmed impactor structures on Earth, and many more candidates that have yet to be confirmed beyond doubt,” said Mark Boslow, research professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico.
Boslow said the most important aspect of the discovery is the example of an underwater crater, of which only a few are known.
“Being able to study an underwater impact crater of this size will help us understand the process of ocean impacts, which are among the most common yet poorly preserved or understood.”
The width of the crater is 8 km. It is believed to be caused by an asteroid over 400 meters wide that cut into the Earth’s crust.
“The impact could have severe local and regional consequences, at least across the Atlantic,” U. Nicholson said.
Such an impact should have caused a large earthquake (magnitude 6.5-7) and an air blast would have been heard around the world.
A tsunami wave around the crater would have been around 1 km high, which would have reduced to five meters by the time it reached South America.
Information from microfossils found in nearby exploratory boreholes suggests that the crater formed 66 million years ago. year, with an error of about 1 million years.
An asteroid of this size hits Earth every 700,000 years. Nicholson said.
This asteroid may be associated with the one that wiped out the dinosaurs.
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